“I actually really loved being able to give all of the Netherlands a glimpse of the islands, which they wouldn’t have had the chance to do without this trip. The islands are so beautiful, so what is there not to fall in love with”, that is what the Princess of Orange said at the end of her two-week journey to the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Her parents King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands introduced their daughter Amalia to all six of the islands from 27 January to 9 February 2023.
Apart from official engagements, there were also visits to touristic spots. The islands itself were mainly responsible for the program, so they turned out to be all different. Some islands included lots of tourist sites, while others were full of visits to organizations. I have never been in the Caribbean, and I saw photos full of sun, beach and nature, but also a lot of history and culture. So where could you go to in the footsteps of Amalia, Máxima and Willem-Alexander?
The Dutch slave trade on the islands was a very important topic during this trip. Slavery came to an end in 1863, but is not forgotten. On Bonaire the family visited the slave huts, where people lived who had to work for the Dutch West India Company in the salt pans of Bonaire. Before these tiny cottages – only 1,5 metres high – were built in the 19th century, the slaves has to sleep in the open air or in wooden huts. They can be found at two locations along the Pekelmeer.
The family also visited the Mangazina di Rei, the King’s Repository, that was once used by the Dutch government in the 19th century to store rations for their slaves. Nowadays it is used to preserve the cultural wealth of the island. Here every last Saturday of the month a cultural educational event called Nos Zjilea is being organized. Both local residents and tourists then can enjoy Bonairean culture.
At Sorobon Bay there was a windsurfing demonstration. The island is a great place for this sport. From there the royals did visit the bay and the mangrove by boat.
More photos of the Bonaire visit at Royal Portraits.
On the island of Aruba the family visited enormous murals in San Nicolas. They also spent some hours walking through the AriKok National Park, a nature reserve that comprises almost 20 percent of the island. It offers unique geological, cultural and historical sites.
Two days were spent on the island of Curaçao. On Thursday 2 February 2023 the Princess of Orange, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands walked through the historical centre of the capital of Willemstad. Lots of culture and art, but also views of the Pontjesbrug (Queen Emma Bridge), the main squares, the areas Punda, Otrobanda and Scharloo. The walk ended at the Amalia Bridge, while in the evening the enormous Cathedral of Thorns work of art was the decor of a dinner.
More photos of the first day of the Curaçao visit at Royal Portraits.
On the second day the Estate Knip, a former slave plantation, was visited, where the royals heard about the Tula revolt. The Museo Tula at the estate at the moment is being renovated. For Amalia one of the highlights of the visit was probably the visit to the Sea Turtle Conservation at the beach of Cas Abao, where she carried a turtle back into the sea. In the evening they got a taste of the Tumba Festival full of music and dance.
More photos of the second day of the Curaçao visit at Royal Portraits.
After a long weekend Monday 5 February and Tuesday 6 February 2023 were spent on the island of Sint Maarten. While the first day was spend on more official visits and culture, the second day started with a bird watching expedition and a visit to Amsterdam Fortress. Also the Emilio Wilson Park, the former Sentry plantation, was visited, as well as St Peters Hill, where nature is an important theme.
The visit to the island of Sint Eustatius started with a walk through the historical centre of the capital of Oranjestad. There were stops at the Fortress Oranje, the slave path, churches and museums. In the afternoon the royals also visited Zeelandia Beach.
More photos of the visit to Sint Eustatius at Royal Press Europe.
On Thursday 9 February 2023 the two-week visit ended with a trip to the island of Saba. Amalia and her parents got to know the famous Saba-lace, the village of Windwardside and the new harbour in Fort Bay.
More photos of the Saba visit at Royal Press Europe.